Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Frisian Names and Other Resources

I hit the mother lode of genealogical help when I posted a query to the Dutch Genealogy Group on Facebook. I was trying to find out the meaning of my ancestral surname, Dolstra, and so asked for help. I knew it was Frisian ("-stra" is a suffix that means "from the"), which is the language, culture, and ethnicity of a a group of people in the north of the Netherlands, especially in the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. 

One of the very helpful administrators in the group told me about this free downloadable 477-page book, Friesche Naamlijst (Frisian Name List) which gives a great onomastology of Frisian first and last names. I was able to determine that Dolstra meant "-from the sand pit," as Dol means "to dig (sand)."

This book is written in Dutch, and not Frisian or English. It's not difficult to use, as you can open up Notepad on your computer, type in what you see, then copy and paste it into Google Translate to get the Dutch-to-English translation. A couple of helpful tips:

  1. Check out the abbreviations on page 17.
  2. You will see the diagraph IJ mixed with letter Y or come after letter I. Don't be thrown off!
  3. M. means the male version of the first name, while V. means the female version. One example would be M. Geert and V. Geertje. In English, these names would be Garret (male) and Gertie (female).
  4. G. is the surname that is derived from the root word. Geertsma would be an example of a last name derived from a first name, and essentially would mean "the clan of Geert."
  5. P. is a place name. This is especially helpful in determining where some of these names may have come from. For instance, we learn there is a place called Geertsweer in Dollart, East Friesland.
  6. Beginning on page 473, there are Additions and Improvements. Don't forget to check them out.

 Finally, there is also a genealogy group on Facebook for those researching their roots from Friesland, Groningen, and Drenthe. And Cyndi's List has a category for Frisian and Ostfriesen research.

Happy Hunting!

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 2014 Scanfest

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday's Tip: Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association

Do you have ancestors who worked for the Northern Pacific Railway? This line was completed in 1883 and stretched for 6,800 miles across the northern tier of the United States from Wisconsin to Washington State. It opened up transportation between the Great Lakes and the Puget Sound, and became known as the "Route of the Great Big Baked Potato." Its stormy financial history ended when it merged with Burlington Northern in 1970. [1]

On my children's father's side, several ancestors worked for railroads around the Pacific Northwest, including the Northern Pacific Railway. My own great-grandfather worked as a box car painter for the NPR in Tacoma, Washington from 1919 to 1922. A couple of blog posts I've written describing the interesting history and stories of those railroad ancestors can be read here: "Every Eleven Miles" and "The Martin Family and the Great Fire of 1910."

I came across a great website the other day, looking online for images of antique postcards of Spokane: the Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association. The Research Library option at the top of the page has some amazing resources: databases, photos, history, and links to other railroad archives. While there is definitely a preference toward model railroaders and railroad historians, there is plenty of information to help out the genealogist as well. Some of the databases that I found useful were the subdivision maps, depot photos and histories, and links to museums. Finally, there is a downloadable article, "Genealogy and the Northern Pacific," printed in the Fall 2009 issue of The Mainstreeter, the NPRHA's quarterly journal.

Check it out!

1. Wikipedia contributors, "Northern Pacific Railway," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Pacific_Railway (accessed 21 April 2014).

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Greetings

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Scanfest is Coming!

The April 2014 Scanfest will take place here at AnceStories this coming Sunday, April 27th, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Pacific Daylight Time.
What is Scanfest? It's a time when geneabloggers, family historians, and family archivists meet online here at this blog to chat while they scan their precious family document and photos. Why? Because, quite honestly, scanning is time-consuming and boring!

Scanfest is a great time to "meet" other genealogists, ask questions about scanning and preservation, and get the kick in the pants we all need on starting those massive scanning projects that just seem too overwhelming to begin.

To get started, you need to know the basics about scanning:

1. Don't use commercial glass cleaners (i.e. Windex) or paper towels to clean your scanner's glass plate. Use a soft, clean cloth, preferably microfiber. If you must use a liquid, use water sprayed directly onto the cloth  and make sure to let the plate dry thoroughly before placing photos or documents on it.

2. Wear cotton gloves (available at many art and/or photography supply shops) when handling photos and old documents.

3. Don't slide the photos around on the glass plate. Place them exactly where you want them. Photos should NEVER be scanned by a scanner that feeds the document through the machine, but ALWAYS on a flat-bed scanner.

4. Set your scanner to scan at no smaller than 300 dpi (dots per inch). Many experts recommend 600 dpi for photographs.

5. Photographs should ALWAYS be scanned and saved as .tif files. Use "Save As" to reformat the .tif file to a .jpg file for restoration and touchups, emailing, or uploading to an online photo album. ALWAYS retain the original scan as a .tif file.

6. Documents can be scanned as .pdf files or .tif files.

7. When you are done scanning your photos, don't put them back in those nasty "magnetic" photo albums. Place them in archival safe albums or boxes found at websites such as Archival Products or Archival Suppliers. Do NOT store any newsprint (articles, obituaries, etc.) with the photos. The acid from the newspaper will eventually destroy the photograph.

Now about the chatting part of Scanfest:

We will be using Blyve, a live blogging platform that you access right here at AnceStories. On Sunday at 11 AM, PDT, come right here to AnceStories and you'll see the Blyve live blog/forum in the top post. It's not really a "chat room," per se, it's more like a live forum and anyone visiting this site can read and see what is happening in the forum.

You will not need to download any software.

We look forward to having you participate with us!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Surname Saturday: BRINKMAN

BRINKMAN is a Dutch topographic name for someone who lived by a meadow in low-lying marshland, according to the Dictionary of American Family Names. Friesche Naamlijst says it can also be a location name, for the village of Brink in East Friesland, which is in present-day Germany. It is one of my maternal step-grandfather's lines.

Stories and History:
I have not done much research on this line; consequently, I do not have very much information to share at this time, other than that this family is first found in Kollumerland, Friesland, the Netherlands in the late 1700s/early 1800s.

(I use the letter "C" to differentiate between my biological family tree and my step-family tree. Similarly, I use the letter "B" to mark my paternal grandmother's adoptive family tree.)

Ahnentafel #98C - Binne BRINKMAN (dates unknown) - little is known about this ancestor at this time, other than his name.

Ahnentafel #49C - Bontje Binnes BRINKMAN (c. 1823 - 1869) - probably born in Kollumerland, she married Jarig Egberts De VRIES (1813 - 1869) in that municipality. Their son, Binne, was born in Kollumerzwaag, Kollumerland in 1856. Bontje died exactly two months before her husband did. Their son (and any other children they may have had) was orphaned at a young age.

Ahnentafel #24C - Binne Jarigs De VRIES (1856 - 1896) - born in Kollumerzwaag, he was a shoemaker, who moved to the municipality of Smallingerland in Friesland. He died young (age 39), leaving a widow and three small children, who moved to the United States probably in an arranged marriage situation.

Ahenentafel #12C - Jarig Binne Egbert DeVRIES (1887 - 1959) - born in the city of Drachten in Smallingerland, he immigrated with his mother and two younger siblings to the United States, the only group of my ancestors to pass through Ellis Island. His name was anglicized to George Benjamin Edward DeVRIES. My mother remembers him pretty well, as he lived with her family shortly before he died.

Ahnentafel #6C - Adrian "Ed" DeVRIES (1916 - 2007) - my beloved grandfather, greatly missed

Ahnentafel #3 - my mother (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More About the BRINKMAN Family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): BRINKMAN ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Posts about BRINKMAN ancestors and relatives on this blog

My BRINKMAN Immigration Trail:

Kollumerland, Friesland, the Netherlands > Smallingerland, Friesland, the Netherlands > Kent Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Surname Saturday: DOLSTRA

The surname DOLSTRA is of Frisian origin. The Frisians are an ethnic minority who live in the north of the Netherlands, mainly in the provinces of Friesland and Groningen. The suffix -stra means "from" or "of"; however, I have not been able to determine what the root word, dol, means. There seem to be very few families with this surname in either the Netherlands or the United States. It would be interesting to learn more about the origins of this surname.

Stories and History:

Ahnentafel #392 - Gerrit (dates unknown) - this is the earliest known ancestor of this line. He probably did not use the surname DOLSTRA at all, as most surnames were not taken until 1811, when Napoleon, who ruled the Netherlands, required the Dutch to register their family names. Before this, especially in Friesland, most families used patronyms. The only way I know about this man is that his son used the patronym, Gerrits.

Ahnentafel #196 - Hendrik Gerrits (dates unknown) - again, I know little about this individual. His name appears as the father of my ancestor, Gerrit Hendriks DOLSTRA, below. His wife was Grietje Douwes.

Ahnentafel #98 - Gerrit Hendriks DOLSTRA (c. 1782 - 1838) - although I don't know this man's birthplace, it likely was in the municipality of Ferwerderadeel, Friesland. On 29 June 1806, he married Willemke Gerryts ENGBRENGHOF (1788 - 1843) in Marrum in Ferwerderadeel. At the time, he was living in Jubbega, Schoterland (now Heerenveen), Friesland. They had at least three daughters, only one surviving past young adulthood. In 1811, Gerrit registered the surname DOLSTRA in Marrum. Gerrit died in Ferwerderadeel and was buried in the Marrum Churchyard, as was Willemke, five years later.

Ahnentafel #49 - Trijntje Gerrits DOLSTRA (1826 - 1912) - born Ferwerderadeel, she is the only known child of her parents to survive young adulthood. On 23 May 1857 in Ferwerderadeel, she married Wieger Tjammes VALK. They had three sons, but like her own parents, only one child survived young adulthood. This was her son Tjamme "James" Wiegers  VALK, who emigrated to the US in 1882 with his fiancée. Trijntje remained behind with her husband and helped raise his nephew, Tjamme Hendriks VALK. After Wieger's death in 1888, Trijntje immigrated to Rock Island, Illinois to live with her son and his wife. They later moved to Western Michigan, living first in Ottawa County and later in Kent County on the outskirts of Grand Rapids. Trijntje died there in Walker Township and is buried next to her son and daughter-in-law in Greenwood Cemetery. I have a copy of a photo of Trijntje taken before she left the Netherlands. It is a favorite, as she is wearing traditional Dutch dress:

Ahnentafel #24 - Tjamme "James" Wiegers VALK (1860 - 1922) - immigrated to Illinois with his fiancée, Berber ("Barbara") J. DeJONG in 1882. After their marriage and living for approximately five years in Rock Island, they moved to Western Michigan, where VALKs continue to live to this day.

Ahnentafel #12 - William James VALK - (1886 - 1950) - fathered 16 children between two marriages (only 12 survived infancy), plus raised a stepson

Ahnentafel #6 - William ("Bill") VALK - (1912 - 1989) - my paternal grandfather, WWII veteran

Ahnentafel #3 - my mother (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More About the DOLSTRA Family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): DOLSTRA ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Some DOLSTRA obituaries [on website - scroll down the page a bit from this link]

3. Posts about DOLSTRA ancestors and relatives on this blog

My DOLSTRA Immigration Trail:

Schoterland (now Heerenveen), Friesland, the Netherlands > Ferwerderadeel, Friesland, the Netherlands > Rock Island Co., IL > Ottawa Co., MI > Kent Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA

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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

How to Save and Print Images from Chronicling America

Whenever I teach my class on using online historical newspapers, I always get asked how to save and to print images from the various newspaper websites. I thought it would be helpful for my readers to view some video tutorials on the subject, and today's post is how to do so with the Chronicling America website. These are not my videos, but were found by doing a search at YouTube. Enjoy!

How to Save and Download Content from Chronicling America by NEHgov

NDNP Podcast 9 - How Do I Print an Image by Video Ohio History 

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Saturday, April 05, 2014

Surname Saturday: OSBORNE

OSBORNE is from the Old Norse personal name, Ásbjorn (ás: god + björn: bear). This name was found as Osbern in England before 1066 and in Ireland since the sixteenth century.

OSBORNE is one of my paternal grandmother's adoptive lines. I use the letter "B" after each ahnentafel number to distinguish my adoptive family ahnentafel from my biological one. I have not done much research on this family.

Stories and History:

Ahnentafel #94B - Johnathan OSBORNE (dates unknown) - married Hannah [--?--].

Ahenentafel #47B - Hannah "Matilda" OSBORNE (1822 - 1893) - born in Youngstown, Mahoning Co., Ohio, she married Stephen HIGBY (1810 - 1873) in 1840 in that state. They had eleven known children; the first four were born in Bedford, Cuyahoga County. They removed to Ganges, Allegan Co., Michigan between July 1853 and December 1854. Another move to Byron Center, Kent Co., Michigan occured c. 1857. They either briefly moved back or visited Ohio, as their youngest daughter was born there in Augusta, Carroll County in 1861, but their youngest son was born in Byron Center in 1865. Hannah died in Byron Township, as did her husband. They are both buried there in Winchester Cemetery

Ahnentafel #23B - Anna Matilda HIGBY (1861 - 1903) - She supposedly was born in Augusta, Carroll Co., Ohio, although that doesn't fit into her parents' migration journey, unless she was born on a trip back to Ohio to visit family. Both her immediate older and younger siblings were born in Byron Center, Byron Twp., Kent Co., Michigan, where her family had settled several years before her birth. She married John Dennis CONCIDINE (1854 - 1925) in 1879 in Kent Co., Michigan. They had seven children, five of whom survived childhood. Anna died at the age of 42 in Byron Township, due to septic periotonitis, usually caused by a ruptured appendix.

Ahnentafel #11B - Nellie Mae CONCIDINE (1883 - 1953) - my paternal grandmother's adoptive mother; She was born in Byron Center, ByronTwp., Kent Co., Michigan and married Alfred Henry HOLST (1882 - 1952) in 1905 in Byron Center. She died in Coopersville, Ottawa Co., Michigan. Nellie and Alfred had three children, with only one surviving infancy, before they adopted my paternal grandmother.

Ahnentafel #5 - Jane Marie YORK (a.k.a. Jeanne Marie HOLST) (1924 - 2012) - my paternal grandmother, an adoptee. She married Robert Louis ROBBINS (1920 - 2003) in 1940.

Ahnentafel #2 - my father (living)

Ahnentafel #1 - myself

More About the OSBORNE Family:

1. Online database (I update this at least once a month): OSBORNE ancestors and relatives (no info on living persons available)

2. Posts about OSBORNE ancestors and relatives on this blog

My OSBORNE Immigration Trail:

Mahoning Co., OH > Cuyahoga Co., OH > Allegan Co., MI > Kent Co., MI > Carroll Co., OH > Kent Co., MI > Ottawa Co., MI > AK > Stevens Co., WA > Spokane Co., WA

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

No Tuesday's Tip Today

I apologize. Due to technical difficulties, Tuesday's Tip was not published today. I hope to be posting another one next week. Thank you for your understanding!

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